I think you should just practice a bit.
For example a bun: pull your hair back like you are about to make a ponytail, then just twist the hair around to make it like a rope. As you are twisting it, it will start to coil. There you go, a bun. You can probably secure it with a rubber band, no pins required.
For a french twist, start like you are doing a low pony tail, then again, just grasp the whole bit of it and twist, this time slightly raising your arms over your head. The hair will pull itself into a twist. You can use a large barrette to secure the top. If you need use a comb to secure the sides. and then just let the ends hang out (ok its not a super polished french twist if the ends are hanging out, but its a heck of a lot easier!)
Other easy styles are wearing a head band, or hair half pulled back in a barrette.
Just play around a few minutes a day and try stuff out. Video tutorials are probably easier then print ones. and you an try talking to a hairdresser, but since they have a unique visual angle they might not explain well for doing your hair from your point of view. A great idea is to ask a friend with a nice style "hey how'd you do that?" - many people 'talk' with their hands, and its likely they will raise their arms and pantomime the actions while explaining.